Over the last few years, I’ve watched first-hand as two teams transition out of reactive decision making and into more proactive choices. In both cases, defined and organized leadership teams are at the center. Regularly confronting organizational patterns and trends becomes a gateway to improved performance. It also provides increased alignment around company vision, values, and behaviors.
Beyond traditional c-level leadership, interdisciplinary leadership teams can also be highly impactful. Take Business Operations for instance. Operations is one part of the organization’s needs, but a growing company will eventually require more specialization. Selecting key members within operations will allow for increased buy-in and deeper focus are the vital part of the organization.
In a recent session with our Operations team at Polar Notion, we distilled the form and function into the following concepts.
We should explore current operational pains, in order to produce lasting organizational gains. The discussion time should focus on things that are high impact, high frequency, and high volume.
• High Impact items are those which present substantial cost, unsustainable inefficiencies, or significant opportunities. A problem around company culture, for instance, runs the risk of effecting every part of the business.
• High Frequency problems are felt on a regular and recurring basis. Assuming all things are equal, a pain felt daily is more important than one felt annually.
• High Volume problems impact multiple people. While it’s important to address problems of all sizes, the cost is much great when felt in mass.
Ideally, issues appropriately sized for a leadership team would overlap in these areas. The goal shouldn’t be to tackle them all at once. If appropriately prioritized, the gains and improvements will likely compound.
Consistent agenda’s are crucial of standing meetings. Here is a simple example we’ve tried for the operations team.
- Everyone brings 1-2 problems and proposed solutions.
- Each person shares problems.
- Nominate a ‘winner’ based on highest value to organization.
- Chosen problem is unpacked in more details along with proposed solutions*.
- Remainder of time is identifying and discussing solutions.
*Solution should include:
- Classification of problem (people problem, strategy problem, cash problem, execution problem).
- Proposed action?
- Who is needed?
- What does success look like?
Continuous, forward movement is crucial for an organization of any size. A healthy cadence of tackling the biggest problems can lead to organizational maturity, growth, and a more enjoyable work experience for all.